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Ohio's high court may consider Noble Co. mineral rights case

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Battle over ownership could set precedent for case across Buckeye State

CALDWELL, Ohio -- A fight over who owns the mineral rights under 42 acres of land in Noble County may be headed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Jon Walker Jr. filed a lawsuit against John Noon in 2012 in an attempt to get the mineral rights to the property. Walker owns the surface rights. According to court records, Noon purchased the property in 1964 and severed the mineral rights from the surface rights when he sold the property in 1965.

In an April 2012 complaint, Walker claimed that the mineral rights merged with the surface rights in 1992 by the way of the 1989 Ohio Dormant Mineral Act. The Noble County Court sided with Walker and denied Noon’s motion to keep his mineral rights.

Noon has since passed away, but his heir has appealed that decision to the Seventh District Court of Appeals - which also sided with Walker - and now the Ohio Supreme Court. Entities ranging from Chesapeake Energy to a federal court in Columbus have urged the Supreme Court to look into the case because of the precedent it will set for landowners in Noble, Belmont, Monroe, and other area counties at the heart of the Utica Shale boom.

Z. Daniel Barnett

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